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Friday April 25, 2014 | by Andrew Page

3 Questions for ... Daniel Cutrone

The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet blog recently caught up to Daniel Cutrone, an assistant professor in the glass area at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and a practicing artist with a solo exhibition currently on view at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. Holding an MFA in glass from Tyler, as well as a BFA in painting from the University of the Arts, Cutrone writes in his artist statment about his work's efforts to "engender a state of questioning" and to test and challenge boundaries. Below, we present an exchange with the artist about his latest work, his inspirations, and where his work is on view.

GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet: What are you working on?
Daniel Cutrone: I am working on mountains, very big mountains made very small and digital birds and tree branches and the act of looking. I have been interested in how the worlds of art, craft, and design overlap. For the last few years, I have been learning how to use CAD (computer aided design) and CAM (computer aided machining) with the desire to explore how these new technologies, which have their own new language of form making, can be used with traditional glass making.

In my classes, I talk to my students about the “What ifs?” not about certainty. The most fertile ground is one littered with inquiry. It is from this point of view that I begin to tug and pull at the languages of art, craft and design. What if I rub these things together? What new discourse can be had from the exchange of exciting new vocabulary provided by 3D technologies and those of traditional glass and art making? It's my belief that relevance and meaning are not derived from a declarative statement but rather from one of inquiry. An aim of my work is to engender a state of inquiry. In particular my new work investigates the relation between the natural world and a digitally designed one, the hand made and the manufactured.
I am also interested in creating intimacy. It is inquiry, curiosity, and a desire for understanding on multiple planes that moves us to intimacy. Strategically work needs to exist on multiple levels. I want my work to breathe. I want the viewer to be drawn in to it. I want the work to invite the viewer to consider it from a new point of view, because by changing ones point of view we develop meaning. I'm using Mount Everest as one of my lures and anchors. It is a form that is repeated both within an individual piece and across multiple pieces throughout the exhibition. It is flipped upside down, and it is inverted in reflections black and silver, and it is magnified through lenses. This diversity  of exposure of Mount Everest is aimed toward generating a state of inquiry, curiosity, and a desire for understanding. I believe that we can achieve intimacy through inquiry and experience even if knowledge or understanding remains incomplete.


GLASS: What have you seen or experienced recently that has inspired you and figures into your latest work?
Daniel: Lately I've been interested in a lot of design work, but I owe much to Marcel Duchamp’s Étant Donnés (1946 - 66), which is here in Philadelphia where I live and work. It’s a work of art that I continually reference in my teaching. I'm endlessly fascinated by it. It is a work of art that places demands on the viewer. You cannot be a passive viewer of this work. Its power is rooted in the specific nature of looking through two slits in a door.

The act of a voyeur wanting to see, wanting more, but ultimately unfulfilled. However, Étant Donnés leaves no sour aftertaste. You might be unfulfilled but not unsatisfied, and in the end, you will return for more. Another work of art that motivates and mystifies me is the fur tea cup “Object” by Méret Oppenheim. This is a great example of the whole being far greater and than the sum of its parts. The work also relates to my interest in the “What ifs?” of art making. What if you put two very comforting objects together? Unexpectedly, this equation results in a feeling of discomfort and disgust, but perhaps also a bit intrigued.


GLASS: Where can your work be seen?
Daniel: I just finished a new body if work for my solo exhibition "Objects of Desire" that is currently running at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and will be up through July 6, 2014. I have work on permanent display at the Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts in Millville New Jersey, and The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. My work is also currently in a curated exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey.


GLASS: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for 35 years.